The Bayon School offers free, quality primary education that takes into account the social difficulties of the students. Afterwards, a follow-up and support of these students in secondary school and up to university for some of them are set up with the will to take the children we help to the maximum of their capacities.
Mitigating the deficiencies of the public education system for underprivileged student
Of the school teachers had only a secondary school diploma or less in 2013.
Despite reconstruction efforts from the 1980s onwards, Cambodia’s education system accumulated a significant gap following its destruction by the Khmer Rouge and the extermination of educated people.
Source : UNESCO, 2014
Average primary school dropout rate in 2017 in Cambodia.
Despite satisfactory coverage (nearly 95%), many students drop out of elementary school.
Source : UNESCO, 2018
Completion rate in lower secondary education (junior high school equivalent) in Cambodia in 2017.
Source : UNESCO, 2014
Of Cambodian children between 5 and 14 years old were working in 2015. Indeed, many families do not appreciate the benefits related to their children’s education and prefer to rely on the short-term solution of the income brought by their work. This problem is even more important in an area such as the Angkor temples, where the attraction of tourism has favored the development of economic activities that do not require any qualifications and that children can carry out with or in place of their parents.
Source : UNICEF, 2016
Our vision: Quality education for underprivileged children and youth living in the Angkor temple region
The Bayon School offers students completely free education so that money does not become a barrier to schooling for children from disadvantaged families. All the necessary school materials are made available to primary and secondary students.
The primary school children are fed twice a day (breakfast and lunch) which further contributes to reducing their families’ living expenses. A monthly allowance is also distributed to each secondary school student to cover their tuition fees in Siem Reap’s public middle and high schools.
In the same perspective, since 2017, the Bayon School has been hosting a kindergarten class which not only improves the future academic results of the students by preparing them for primary school, but also financially relieves the families. Indeed, by welcoming their children to school as early as possible, it reduces their costs and frees up their time for work.
To support the students and limit the impact of their disadvantaged socio-economical background, our social team is strongly involved in the learning process. At the primary school, they are on the front line, directly with the pedagogical team, for exchanges with the teachers on social and academic difficulties. At the secondary level, they are mobilized with the students followed by the Bayon School in public middle and high schools to monitor their academic results and their attendance.
Individualized support lessons to help students in difficulty are set up to improve their academic results and thus limit dropping out.
Finally, we offer primary school pupils an opening to arts and culture from grade 1, to which they do not have access through their families: plastic arts classes, traditional dance and puppet classes, cultural trips. Educational games and books are made available to them in the library to encourage them to read.
A strong emphasis on vocational guidance and support of students towards higher education to give them a chance to break out of the poverty loop
At the Bayon School, we have set up specific classes so that students acquire the skills they need for higher education and their future profession:
- English, taught in Grades 4, 5 and 6 by a qualified teacher.
- Computer science, taught in Grades 4, 5 and 6 to familiarize them with the computer.
Secondary school students are guided in their professional orientation. They benefit from personal development courses and we also organize job meetings with qualified professionals and career forums to introduce them to the range of possible career opportunities, in partnership with other local NGOs such as Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, Sala Baï or Egbok.
Finally, every year we provide about ten scholarships to students who demonstrate strong motivation to continue their studies at university.
Our goal: Successfully make the transition from a teacher-centered teaching system to a student-centered pedagogy
In 2018, we welcomed two education experts to the Bayon School for an audit of our teaching practices. They encouraged us to rethink our pedagogical model and we have since been working to implement their recommendations.
Learning methods in public schools in Cambodia rely heavily on choral rehearsal, the lesson given by the teacher and the reward. Interactivity, group work and individual support are almost absent. These methods were previously used by primary school teachers. From now on, we try to take into account the specific needs of each student, according to his/her individual background, situation and social difficulties, based on the theory of empowerment. The social team is involved with the teachers to share the particular situations of each student.
We also chose to reduce the number of students per class in order to privilege quality over quantity and to facilitate this personalized education.
The arts and sports classes are part of this student-centered approach, by stimulating the student’s emotional intelligence, creativity, initiative, critical thinking, self-confidence, and through practical work.
At the Bayon School, all the teachers are graduated and are employed full time, which allows them to devote time to the preparation of courses, training, and the update of pedagogical content. Continuing education is strongly promoted, both internally (through sharing practices or mentoring) and externally.
Finally, we are committed to involve parents in the educational community and in the life of the primary school so that they can take ownership of this place and motivate their children in their studies. Until now, the school has reached out to parents through annual visits and various social programs. Now it is up to the parents to come to the school, for example, through participation in class councils or the implementation of educational and health workshops.
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